Posted in prophecy, sovereignty

Back to Basics: The Importance of Prophecy

By Elizabeth Prata

By EPrata

As the time draws nigh, people less and less look to prophecy as a legitimate study of the Bible. They dismiss the prophetic, are skeptical of it, or simply ignore it. The silence of the pulpits is resounding, and the ignorance of the people is disheartening.

I’d like to spend a bit of time in encouraging us all to study the word, and not to ignore the prophetic. Lambert Dolphin wrote,

“A major portion of both the Old and New Testament is devoted to prophecy- nearly one third of the Scripture. Only four of the 66 books of the Bible are without prophecy-Ruth, the Song of Solomon, Philemon, and 3 John. Even the shortest book of the Bible mentions prophecy (Jude 14, 17-18, which refers to Enoch and the second coming of the Lord). Out of the Old Testament’s 23,210 verses, 6,641 contain predictive material, over twenty eight percent. Out of the New Testament’s 7,914 verses, 1,711 contain predictive material, over 21 percent.”

Illustration above, “God judging Adam” Genesis 3, William Blake, C. 1795

Joel C. Rosenberg wrote an essay based on a sermon of his, titled Rediscovering The Power and Purpose of Prophecy. He makes four main points,

“Unfortunately, many pastors, priests and ministry leaders here in the U.S. and around the world are not teaching Bible prophecy — as I see it, there are four major reasons for this.”

–First, many pastors don’t teach prophecy because they have a lack of belief in the power of God’s Word.
–Second, many pastors don’t teach prophecy because they have a lack of knowledge of — and sound training in — Bible prophecy.

–Third, many pastors don’t teach prophecy because they have a fear of being lumped in with “prophecy nuts” and those who peddle sensationalism.
–Fourth, many pastors don’t teach prophecy because they have a lack of understanding of the times in which we live and the increasingly close return of Christ.

Rosenberg fleshes out each of the points.

Prophecy is the very Word of God, spoken by His mouth to His servants. (Revelation 1:1, Luke 1:70). Before the Word was written, He spoke it. The first prophecy was given to Adam and Eve in the Garden as He related to them the curse of the Fall from Grace, but promised a Messiah. (Genesis 3:15).

Habakkuk 2:2,
“I will stand upon my watch”
Illustration, James Shaw Crompton, of

Then the Prophets came, as they had since the beginning, (Luke 1:70), and God told them to write down the words. (Habakkuk 2:2, Exodus 17:14, Jeremiah 30:1-2 for example).

Poor Jeremiah. God spoke to Him and Jeremiah spoke to the people. Then God told Jeremiah to write the words down. Jeremiah did. However, Jeremiah’s words from God were so ill-received that King Jehoiakim burned the scroll of everything that had been written. The King burned it bit by bit as Baruch read it. The LORD then told Jeremiah to write it all over again, a monumental work, and this time God added words that cursed the king. (Jeremiah 30). God’s word will not be denied.

So prophecy was and is the word of the Lord, whether spoken as it was in the Old Testament or written as it was then and it is now. It will be spoken again, in the Tribulation, when God sends His Two Witnesses to prophesy for 1,260 days. (Revelation 11:3).

Prophecy is extremely important, we are told many times. 1 Thessalonians 5:20 warns us not to despise prophesyings. For example, in 2 Peter 1:19 we are told it is “a sure word.” This is because almost nothing else illustrates His sovereignty more than prophecy. How so?

“And the LORD said to Moses, “Is the LORD’s hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.” (Numbers 11:23). He delivers His word and tells us to test it, watch for it. This is because His Word is sure and God knows it will come true.

Pastor Jim McClarty discussed the Irresistibility of God in his 2009 sermon delivered at the Sovereign Grace Bible Conference. He made several wonderful points during his exciting 1 hour sermon, but his second point is the one I’d like to bring to you now. He said,

“God’s irrestibility is demonstrated in prophecy. Prophecy is a risky venture. There are no other major religious pieces of literature in the world that contain the amount of prophecy that the bible does. It’s one of the most unique characteristics of the bible, and it is chock full of prophecy. The reason it’s risky is, you can check it.” (Numbers 11:23, Deuteronomy 18:22).

People often think that the Old Testament times were heavily prophetic all the time. They believe that miracles happened every day and that God talked to the prophets every minute. It is not so. The miracles we read about in the Old Testament were spaced far apart, years, decades, centuries, even. After Micah, there were no prophets for 400 years, until John the Baptist came, and John performed no miracles as Elijah or Moses did. For most of the generations in the OT, they read the scrolls, listened to the priests, and lived lives in submission to Holy God and were waiting for their Messiah to come.

In our day, we read the pages of the Bible, listen to the pastors, and live lives in submission to the Messiah who has come- and will soon come again!

I love prophecy. Now, it is true that people can get carried away with the doctrine of prophecy and/or look at the newspaper and back-date prophecies into news articles. Mr Rosenberg was right that there are nuts who run away with prophecy predictions and claim to hear a word from the Lord as Jeremiah or Elijah did. Fortunately, as Jim McClarty said, we can check the prophecies in the bible. We can rejoice that our Holy God not only is the creator of the universe and the author and architect and finisher of our faith, but His word is sure. He is sovereign and that means, according to Rev. Matt Slick at CARM, “Sovereignty in relation to God means that God has the absolute right to do with His creation as He desires.”

Some verses that support this are as follows: Psalm 115:3, “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” Isaiah 46:10, “Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure;”

Faith in God is always trustworthy, even when answers to life’s issues and traumas do not always arrive. We must trust God in spite of what we see. But when we do see, as in prophecy coming true as written in the pages of His word, we rejoice that He is in control and our faith will prosper us.

“And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.” (2 Chronicles 20:20).

Other essays in the Back to Basics series:

Back to Basics
Back to Basics: Holy Spirit
Back to Basics: What is prayer?
Back to Basics: What Does it Mean to Be Born Again?
Back to Basics: How do I Know I’m Saved? Examine Yourself

Upcoming:

Back to Basics: What is Hell?
Back to Basics: What is the Rapture?
Back to Basics: How to Study Your Bible
Back to Basics: What is Justification?
Back to Basics: What is a miracle?
Back to Basics: All about Angels
Back to Basics: What is “The Lamb”?
Back to Basics: Who is Satan?

Posted in bible jesus, end time, prophecy

Back to basics

By Elizabeth Prata

I wrote this series in 2011, ten years ago. Things are worse now, as we know. Things have worsened exponentially. So I’m bringing back this series for another round in hopes it might help someone in this decade.


bible with glasses

I’ve been mulling over some things about apostasy. This is because in the course of my online and real life discernment and encouragement ministry, I see that the essential doctrines of our faith not only are being eroded “out there”, but also “in here”, in Christian places and in people close to me. I am horrified at the depth and breadth of the erosion of what I believed were the obvious givens. I am grieving over the adherence of many people to the destructive heresies.

Continue reading “Back to basics”
Posted in end time, pre-trib, pre-tribulation rapture, prophecy

The Rapture will occur before the Tribulation

By Elizabeth Prata

Believers of the Church Age will not go through the Tribulation. Let’s define the Tribulation period and the word wrath to help understand what this unique event and time period is for. Here are the verses:

The Tribulation’s purpose is stated in Daniel 9:24. God’s purpose for the Tribulation is to accomplish 6 things. It is actually a decree:

Continue reading “The Rapture will occur before the Tribulation”
Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Advent- Thirty Days of Jesus: Postlude 2, Like the Sun

By Elizabeth Prata

Christmas means baby Jesus. Everybody loves the baby. The swaddling clothes (so cute!) the manger (awww, really?), the Wise Man (distinguished solemnity). It is a tremendous story. It is THE story of all of history. God Himself came in flesh, incarnated solely to grow, live a perfect life, and die. Continue reading “Advent- Thirty Days of Jesus: Postlude 2, Like the Sun”

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Advent: Thirty Days of Jesus: Postlude 1, He is coming again

By Elizabeth Prata

thirty days of jesus postlude 1
Further Reading:

GTY blog/sermon link: Christmas Future

Spurgeon: Watching for Christ’s Coming

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thirty Days of Jesus Series-

Introduction/Background
Day 1: The Virgin shall conceive
Day 2: A shoot from Jesse
Day 3: God sent His Son in the fullness of time
Day 4:  Marry her, she will bear a Son

Day 5: The Babe has arrived!
Day 6: The Glory of Jesus
Day 7: Magi seek the Child
Day 8: The Magi offer gifts & worship
Day 9: The Child Grew
Day 10: The boy Jesus at the Temple
Day 11: He was Obedient!
Day 12: The Son!
Day 13: God is pleased with His Son
Day 14: Propitiation
Day 15: The gift of eternal life
Day 16: Two Kingdoms
Day 17: Jesus’ Preeminence
Day 18: Jesus is highest king
Day 19: Jesus emptied Himself
Day 20: Jesus as Teacher
Day 21: Jesus as Shepherd
Day 22, Jesus as Intercessor

Day 23: Jesus as Compassionate Healer
Day 24: Jesus as Omniscient
Day 25: Jesus’ Authority
Day 26: Jesus’ Sinlessness
Day 27: He rises!
Day 28: Resurrection is of central importance
Day 29: Ascension
Day 30: He sat down

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Advent: Thirty Days of Jesus- Day 29, Ascension

By Elizabeth Prata

We are coming toward the end of our look at the life of Jesus through scripture. The first section of His life was seen through verses focused on prophecy, arrival, and early life.

The next section of verses looked at Him as the Son, second person of the Trinity.

We proceeded into looking at Jesus as the Son’s preeminence, His works, and His ministry. Under ministry & works, I chose verses showing His attributes and aspects of being servant, teacher, shepherd, intercessor, and compassionate healer; and His attributes of omniscience, having all authority and power, and sinlessness. Continue reading “Advent: Thirty Days of Jesus- Day 29, Ascension”

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Advent- Thirty Days of Jesus: Day 28, Resurrection of central importance

By Elizabeth Prata

Christmas advent. We are coming toward the end of our look at the life of Jesus through scripture. The first section of His life was seen through verses focused on prophecy, arrival, and early life.

The next section of verses looked at Him as the Son, second person of the Trinity. Continue reading “Advent- Thirty Days of Jesus: Day 28, Resurrection of central importance”

Posted in prophecy, theology

Is America under wrath?

By Elizabeth Prata

The year 2020 has been a hard one. There hasn’t been a lot of good news. In fact it has been a grief to see countries close and cities lock down, churches shuttered, and missionaries booted out, making it difficult to personally gather to worship Jesus and share the Good News. Time has passed and we’re now looking at 2021, but no one except God knows if the upcoming year will be any better for us here in America or elsewhere.

People are asking, “Is the wrath of God upon us?” “Is the wrath of God about to be poured down?” “Is judgment here?”

Yes. But it has been since the Garden. Let me explain the different kinds of wrath related to different kinds of judgment. Because there are different types of wrath and except for the eschatological wrath due to come at the end of the last days, the other kinds of wrath have always been in play.

When we think of ‘God’s wrath’ or ‘Judgment’, we think of the stark example of what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah (and Admah and Zeboiim) in Genesis 19. Those sinful cities serve as an example of what happens when a town gives itself over to indulging in immorality, like widespread homosexuality. (Jude 1:7). God rained down fire and brimstone, destroying the cities and all flesh that were within them.

But there are actually different types of wrath. Some are unseen because they’re internal, others are seen but difficult to identify specifically as wrath or simply a ‘natural’ a consequence of the Fall. Some wrath of God abides on the ungodly every day, and it always has since Genesis 3.

Thomas Hooker, a Puritan preacher of the 1600s, said in his book The application of redemption by the effectual work of the word, and spirit of Christ, for the bringing home of lost sinners to God (don’t you love their lengthy titles, lol? And their antiquated spelling? )

who shal comfort, who can releeve what ever he doth, wherever he is, the wrath God abides upon him, thou art not within the Mercy nor the compass of that Redemption?

Jonathan Edwards said the word “wrath” 52 times in his famous sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. He said “anger” 6 times. He preached,

The Wrath of God burns against them, their Damnation don’t slumber, the Pit is prepared, the Fire is made ready, the Furnace is now hot, ready to receive them, the Flames do now rage and glow.

What IS the wrath? Most people, if they think of God’s wrath at all either think of Jesus exhausting it on the cross for forgiven sinners, or the last day when Jesus returns in wrath, blood, fire etc to pour His wrath out on unforgiven sinners.

The wrath of God is not an easy topic. It is not a popular topic. It is not often directly preached from pulpits, nor spoken of on social media or in conversation. But it is an important topic. Upon death, the final state of all humans who were not saved during life will be to endure horrific wrath forever. The wrath hangs over every unsaved person while they are alive.

The wrath is an attribute of God. And though we love to think of Jesus the babe meek & mild, especially during Christmas season, He is also wrathful. He will return to deliver His stored-up wrath one day.

John MacArthur preached on this a number of times, here is a paraphrase / excerpt from one of the sermons. Please note that MacArthur took the biblical evidence of wrath and placed them in a descriptive list.

1. Eternal wrath – because it is the punishment that God brings upon unbelieving sinners forever in hell. (Matthew 25:41-46, many other verses).
2. Eschatological wrath, that is the wrath of God that is released at the end of the world described by some of the Old Testament prophets, described by Jesus Christ Himself in the Olivet Discourse, and clearly laid out for us in the book of Revelation. (Luke 21:23, Romans 2:5, Revelation 6-18).
3. Cataclysmic wrath, like a tsunami, a volcano, a hurricane, an earthquake… Noah’s Flood and the destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, & Zeboiim are examples of this wrath. Cataclysms are a reflection of the judgment of God. (Numbers 16:31-35).
4. Consequential wrath. Consequential wrath is the sowing and reaping wrath, you live a certain kind of life and you set in motion certain forces that will produce judgment. The resulting wrath can be reflective of the consequence of the sin-choice a person makes. (Acts 5:4-5, 1 Corinthians 11:29-30). AIDS was a consequential wrath for indulging in homosexuality.
5. The wrath of abandonment. It is that wrath exhibited by God when He turns His back on a group, society, or individual. (Romans 1:24, 28, 28).

We should be careful though, not to attribute any particular event as an example of a specific kind of wrath. The tornado-wind that destroyed Job’s house was not wrath. (Job 18:18). The man born blind was not experiencing a lifetime of infirmity due to sin. (John 9:2-3). The Tower of Siloam fell over because the Tower of Siloam fell over. (Luke 13:4). Someone whom God has seemed to have turned over to their sin in a wrath of abandonment could become the unlikeliest convert (Saul/Paul).

Unlike in Edwards or Hooker’s time, in today’s Christianity God is talked of as a kindly grandfather in the sky, or Jesus is treated as a romantic boyfriend or buddy. However, God’s wrath is real. It is already present and it is also to come. Humans may not live any way we want and God will sit idly by smiling upon His wayward children. He has high moral standards and a high holy standard. Departure from His standard will result in wrath. Since none of us can attain these standards on our own, it means we are all due to experience His wrath. This presents a problem because none is righteous, no, not one. We are all separated from God. Yet He desires communion with His creatures.

Graciously, Jesus lived a perfectly holy life, died on the cross as the sacrifice, having exhausted all of God’s wrath for those whom He will save, and after laying dead in the tomb for three days, God raised Jesus to life. Those who repent of their sins and turn to Jesus as Lord and Savior will never experience His wrath. Praise God for that.

We do seem to be experiencing a wrath of abandonment here in America at present. I’ll write about that tomorrow on why I think so and explore Romans 1 as the biblical foundation for why I believe it.

Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him! (Romans 5:9).

Repent now, while there is still time.

After the arrest of John, Jesus went into Galilee and proclaimed the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15).

wrath verse

—————————————–

Further Reading

Delivered By Grace: The Wrath of God

GotQuestions: What is the biblical understanding of the wrath of God?

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Kay Cude Poetry: Desertion

Kay Cude is a poet whose sensitivity to the glorious salvation of Jesus Christ is uniquely expressed through poetry and picture. Here is her latest offering, in which she explains her thought process. Enjoy.

—————————–Kay Cude—————————–

If you look closely at the tower, you’ll see a tiny figure of someone, which refers to the statement, “As gazed I o’er the valley fair, to there below from tower high.”

That little figure caught my eye, as well as the city lighted up and the storm approaching from the left (approaching spiritual death). So I began to write. The city represents the safety of true salvation in Christ and understanding His Gospel.

The people represent those captured by a “different gospel” suggested as the “real” place of safety. Even though they “know” God’s truth — they are persuaded to run to false teaching and reject Christ.

Christ’s refuge is known to them and still stands in its truth, but when extreme peril approaches, they are convinced by someone’s whim (spiritual deception), to flee to eternal death and separation. Even the donkey digs in his heels against the “unknown” way,” and the dog barks at their sudden rejection.

Their end is eternal separation and eternal living death because they quickly deserted Christ’s truth for a distorted gospel.

 

Poetry by Kay Cude. Used with permission